1. “BoJack Horseman” Season 5 (available September 14)
Why Should I Watch? “BoJack Horseman” is the story of a horse who used to be a TV star, isn’t all that famous anymore, and now just gets drunk all the time to keep living in the past. This, in an of itself, is a pretty funny premise. Sure, Raphael Bob-Waksberg’s animated series can delve into existential darkness with the same force of a “Mad Men” or a “True Detective,” but it remains a comedy throughout — frames are filled with visual jokes, interstitial transitions are quick, silent puns, and the charming character design always evokes a light, calming tone. How the great series balances its heavy material with laugh-out-loud comedy makes it uniquely powerful, as well as a must-watch, year after year.
Bonus Reason: “BoJack Horseman” has been on every single best-of-the-year list IndieWire has written (No. 10, No. 5, No. 1, and No. 5, respectively). It won top honors in 2016, and it’s never seen a significant drop-off in quality. There’s no reason to think Season 5 won’t be one of the year’s most resonant programs, so do yourself a favor, and put this at the top of your to-do list.
2. “Maniac” Limited Series (available September 21)
Michele K. Short / Netflix
Why Should I Watch? Ha! Fooled ya! Dedicated fans of this column (as if there are any) likely noticed the promo image up top isn’t of “BoJack Horseman”; typically, the picture matches the most anticipated series of the month, but September is special. There are too many exciting shows to play things by the book, so consider the prominent placement of Raphael Bob-Waksberg’s underrated gem a reminder of its excellence and the extra photo of “Maniac” a signal to IndieWire’s above-average enthusiasm for Cary Fukunaga’s return to television.
Bonus Reason: OK, pretending IW’s endorsement isn’t enough, there are endless reasons to sample “Maniac.” For one, it’s Fukunaga’s first trip back to the small screen since “True Detective.” For another, it’s Emma Stone’s first TV show and an amazing cast in general: Jonah Hill, Sally Field, and the ex-International Assassin pictured above, Justin Theroux. Get jazzed, people. This trip — about two broken people who test the promise that new pills can fix their minds — is going to be worth taking, no matter why you get on board.
3. “American Vandal” Season 2 (available September 14)
Why Should I Watch? “American Vandal” started satirizing true crime series at the peak of their power, and — lucky for viewers — the faux docuseries proved just as good at taking the genre down a peg as the genre has proven efficient at exposing flaws in the criminal justice system. After an Emmy-nominated and Peabody Award-winning first go, the only questions was: Can Season 2 do it again? Short answer: Yes. Documentarians Peter Maldonado and Sam Ecklund take their investigative skills to an elite Catholic school where they’ll try to answer: Who is the Turd Burglar? That’s right. Co-creators Tony Yacenda and Dan Perrault, as well as showrunner Dan Lagana, wisely decided to move from dick jokes to poop jokes, and the results are as squeamish as they are hysterical.
Bonus Reason: Need more? Why not a whole review? IndieWire’s Steve Greene got the early scoop on Season 2 and gave it a rave. Read on, and don’t worry: It’s spoiler-free.
4. “The Good Cop” Season 1 (available September 21)
Michele K Short/Netflix
Why Should I Watch? “The Good Cop” is built from intriguing pieces which could fall into place as easily as they fall apart. On the one hand, Tony Danza is back on TV! Sure, the former “Who’s the Boss?” star has popped up over the years in everything from “Broad City” to the too-quickly-departed Seeso series, “There’s…Johnny!”, but “The Good Cop” puts him on a widely accessible service in a broadly appealing comedy. And then there’s his partner-in-crime, Josh Groban. The crooner has also spent the last decade or so sneaking into random roles through shows like “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” but playing a cop — and the son of Danza’s former cop, Tony Sr. — offers him his first series regular role and at least one of his first significant challenges.
Bonus Reason: Who doesn’t like an odd couple comedy? Tony Sr. (Danza) is a street-wise wild card kind of guy; a former NYPD officer who never played by the rules. Now, he’s mentoring Tony Jr. (Groban), a new NYPD detective who’s a little too by-the-book on and off the street. Together, perhaps they’ll make for one good cop, but you won’t know unless you watch! (OK, maybe this critic is trying to sell himself on a show he has to watch & review. Thank you for indulging me, and make good choices out there, guys.)